January 30

Cleaning Checklist for January 31- February 6

Good Morning ladies and gents!

Here is your cleaning checklist for January 31 – February 6 th.  It does include the “extras” that you should get to this week if you have the time.  If you don’t have time, please don’t stress about it too much.   You are a busy person.  Do what you can with as much joy in your heart as you can.   Attitude is everything!

One additional tip!  When you clean your washing machine this week, also wipe down the top of the dryer.  After top surface of dryer is fully dried, apply a sheet or two of plastic wrap across the entire top surface to protect dryer from soap/softener spills and splatter and from the rusting and paint damage that can occur from those spills. Change this plastic wrap as needed, or at least once every 3 weeks.

As always, click on the boxes to enlarge or use the pdf below.   Happy cleaning!


Cleaning Checklist January 31-February 6 Cleaning checklist January 31-February 6 (2)

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PDF Version:  To do 1:31-2:6

July 5

Cleaning Checklist for Sunday July 5

Good morning to you all.   I’ll talk quietly for those of us who are recovering from last night’s festivities.  🙂  Here’s your cleaning checklist for Sunday July 5.  I’ve included some nice quiet activities.   <snicker>  Click on it to enlarge or use the PDF below.

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PDF version:  ToDoSunday

July 5

A Real 1950’s Daily Cleaning Routine

UPDATE! Now stay on top of all tasks large and small.  Get a handy daily checklist for cleaning right on our Facebook page.  Like us here!  now..on to A Real 1950’s Daily Cleaning Routine

In the 1950s, it was common for the wife to keep her house exceedingly tidy and well-managed. If you run a search on the internet for how they did it, you will find a list that outlines a typical 1950s housewife cleaning schedule. It shows up on several sites, but I’m not sure where it originated. It appears to be an almost-impossible to achieve list, and after interviewing several women who actually lived as 1950s housewives, I am happy to report that it is indeed not an accurate portrayal of how things typically were. Thank goodness.

So what was a typical day in the life of a 1950s housewife? I am told that it looked more like this:

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Morning/Breakfast:

  1. Mom would wake up and just like we do today her first chore was often to start the coffee. She had to do this first because it took ten to fifteen minutes to percolate.
  2. While the coffee percolated, she would often prepare her husband’s and children’s lunches.
  3. Next was breakfast prep, and despite what we’ve been lead to believe, every day was not a big breakfast day. Oatmeal, cold cereal, or toast were all typical weekday breakfast fare. Big breakfasts  with pancakes and eggs, and home fries were saved for weekend days. In some homes dad would eat and leave before the children woke up. And in other homes, everyone ate together. In any event, the entire morning breakfast routine doesn’t seem to be much longer than our modern-day counterpart.
  4. After eating, dad left for work and children were sent to make their beds, brush teeth and get dressed for school.  Clothing was usually planned and laid out the night before so there was no debate.  They knew what to put on and any resistance to getting these morning chores completed in a timely manner would be met with a promise to answer to dad later that day, so resistance was rare. Mom would often be tending to younger children at this time as well as possibly making her own bed and tidying her own bedroom.
  5. Where a 1950s mom’s morning really hit the time crunch that we don’t feel today is when it came time for the kids to actually get to school. Back then, a car or second car was almost unheard of. Mom had to walk the kids to school.  I think if I could change one thing from our modern-day morning routine back to the 50s version, the walk to school would be it. It was great exercise for everyone involved, and is probably one of the reasons obesity was less of an issue than it is now.

The time spent walking to and from school was also quality time spent together. Lots of good talks and bonding happened then. I remember walking to school even when I was a kid in the 70s. We lived three miles from my school, and I don’t recall hating the twice daily trek at all. I even remember loving the days when it rained because I got to wear my raincoat and my rain boots and use my umbrella. Stomping in puddles was great fun!  In the fall, I’d enjoy swishing through the leaves. In the winter, I remember catching snowflakes on my tongue while we walked. All fond memories.

Late Morning/Early Afternoon

Once mom returned from delivering the children to school, she’d often settle any younger children then she’d take a small break for tea and maybe listen to a morning radio show (usually heavily slanted toward wives and mothers because career women were almost unheard of).

Then the busy work of cleaning would begin.   The entire cleaning routine involved about three hours each day.   The beds were made and bedrooms tidied even before leaving for school, so now it was on to bathrooms, kitchen, living room, laundry, and floors.   Most cleaning was done with simple cleaning products such as baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, lemon, castile soap, and borax.   There were also some commercial cleaning products like Simoniz floor cleaner, Spick N Span, Brillo pads, and Windex, but most women used the basics and a lot of elbow grease.

Bathrooms were cleaned daily so it was a fast chore–no scrubbing required.   A few swishes with the brush in the toilet, a wipe down of all surfaces and mirror, empty trash, shake out carpets, sweep, then a quick mopping.   There was usually only one bathroom, so with just ten minutes, the bathroom duties were done.

This 1955 washer/dryer commercial shows that by the mid 1950s doing the laundry was significantly easier than in the days when it took an entire day to wash by hand, so the habit of washing and drying at least one load of laundry per day was born.

Cleaning the kitchen was also done daily, with a thorough cleaning of the refrigerator at least weekly, and a wipe down of all cupboards–inside and out–at least every few weeks.  Some things were more complicated back then, like the coffee maker, for example.   It needed to be dumped and cleaned by hand every day.   Other items didn’t exist at all, like the microwave.  So cleaning time between then and now should still balance out.

Next, mom would move on to tidying the living room, dusting all furnishings, and controlling paper and other clutter.  Again, this was done daily, so this entire process didn’t take very long.

Lastly, there would be a quick shake out the area rugs, sweeping and damp mopping the floors, and that would complete the morning cleaning rituals.   Houses were much smaller, and wall-to-wall carpeting was still a luxury most homes did not yet enjoy, so even the task of floor care was not overwhelming.

Viola.  Cleaning complete.

For the 1950s woman, the rest of the day was filled with things like feeding lunch to the husband and children if they still came home for lunch (some did).  She might also have to walk to do some shopping and this could involve visiting several places since most items were provided by specialty shops like butchers, bakeries, and the like.  She might have mending and sewing or gardening and canning to do.  She might bake breads or pies.

Later in the afternoon she’d need to walk back to the school for a second (or third!) time at the end of the school day.  Then she had to come home and begin to plan and start dinner.

Evenings and nights were filled with bathing the kids, laying out the clothes for tomorrow, cleaning up the kitchen one last time, and then settling down to listen to your favorite radio program.  In those days almost nobody owned a t.v. and if they did it still wasn’t as popular as a good radio show.  By the time the evening programs came on, mom was ready to put her feet up and take a well-deserved break.

All in all the daily cleaning routine back then was not bad.  It was, and still is, however, monotonous.  We talked about ways to combat the boredom in a earlier post.

The only real difference between then and now is that our standards have slipped a bit these days.   Our children have more toys.  We all have more possessions.  We have more clutter and we have more distractions like television and internet.  We seldom dedicate three hours every day to getting the house tidy.   And when we do, we don’t do it as thoroughly.  Doing things like wiping out the oven weekly and cleaning out the refrigerator weekly does not usually happen in every home anymore.   It should.   If we kept up with these tasks weekly, they would be much quicker and easier and less daunting.

Two months ago I decided to dedicate my days before noon to a routine very similar to the one outlined above.  I must confess that my home is sparkling clean and peaceful.  My husband compliments me on my efforts all the time, and here’s the kicker.  I have actually achieved more outside of my cleaning routine.  Dedicating the time to cleaning didn’t hurt my schedule.  It helped it.   I spend far less time searching for lost items, feeling frantic, and feeling overwhelmed.  In fact, I feel so organized that I was able to finally start this blog, something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.

If you need to revamp your home cleaning efforts, why not make it a pact with yourself to try this 1950s schedule for 30 days?   The first week might not go as quickly as this suggests because you have some catching up to do, but after that, it’s a breeze.   Try it.   Let me know how it works for you.

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June 30

Cleaning House, 1950’s Style– Part 2

If there’s less to clean, it stays cleaner and it cleans up faster. Right? Right. So that’s how we begin today’s discussion about Cleaning House, 1950’s Style– Part 2. If you’ve read Part 1, then it’s time to move on. The fact is that back in the 50s there wasn’t so much stuff. There wasn’t the level of consumerism that we see now. We are literally buried under stuff–mostly useless, decorative things we picked up purely out of a spur-of-the-moment emotional response. It’s keeping-up-with-the-Joneses stuff. It’s I-might-need-this-in-an-emergency stuff. It’s I-don’t-have-much-but-I-have-this stuff, and it’s making our lives difficult. In some cases, it’s even damaging our health.

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That useless clutter that you repeatedly trip over costs money to buy, it costs money to maintain, it costs money to insure, it costs mental energy to worry about, and it costs emotional frustration in a million ways. If your house is very cluttered and very untidy, it might even be causing relationship issues.

Did you know that every time you see something that causes that funny little “something’s wrong” feeling in your stomach, it causes a stress response trigger in your body?

Yes. That’s right. Every time you see that pile of magazines you paid for but have not read, every time you see the missing hubcap, every time you see the nightlight with the burnt out bulb, and every time you see that little speckle of spaghetti sauce that somehow ended up on the wall but you haven’t cleaned it off yet, it’s literally hurting you. Or it’s hurting your spouse when it bothers him.

That’s because our bodies don’t know the difference between stress responses.  Your body doesn’t know you aren’t being attacked.  It just releases the same chemicals as every other stress response, ultimately causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.

So for that reason and many others, it’s time to clean up and clean out.  And really the only reason the clutter and those annoying items are still there, for most of us, is because the idea of cleaning out the clutter in our lives is overwhelming.  There’s just so much of it.

But I ask you this.  What is more overwhelming?   The day-to-day chaos? The never-ending cleaning routine?  The emotional drain that clutter creates?  The financial pit that clutter causes?  Or the idea of working a bit to get rid of all of that?

That’s right.   You want to get rid of it.  So let’s do it.  Here’s how to do it without losing any sleep.


(1) Start small. Grab a box. Right now. Go find one. Then choose a spot of clutter. Maybe it’s your junk drawer. Maybe it’s a book shelf or countertop.  Wherever.  Go there and remove every single thing. Then only put back the essential items.  If it isn’t absolutely necessary to your survival, put it either (a) in the box of items to get rid of or (b) in the pile of “Oh, I don’t need it but I don’t think I can part with it” items. Put the pile in the back of a closet that you don’t use often.  We’ll deal with those in a minute.

(2) Grab another box.  Go to another spot. Repeat everything in number 1 above.  Do this two more times.

(3) Good! Now, here’s one of those opportunities to make some money that we, as stay-at-home wives and moms, are always watching for. Sell the items in those boxes on Craig’s List. (Be very careful with this. Use common sense. Only have people come to your home when your spouse is present, etc.) Or put them on Ebay. Or have a yard sale.

If you don’t think they are salable items but they are serviceable, immediately put them in your car and plan to take those boxes to a donation center (if applicable where you live, get a receipt so you can claim it on your taxes), or put on Freecycle.org or another similar site.  If it’s broken but fixable, or if it can be recovered, repainted, or renewed, put it on Freecycle or Craig’s List, but point out that it will need servicing.  If it’s just plain garbage, recycle it or throw it away.

(4) Next. admire your clear, clean space and declare it a “No Clutter Zone.” Tell everyone in the house that it’s a no clutter zone, and guard it as if it is the last square yard of conservation land on earth. Be rabid about it. You will find after a few days that those open, clean spaces give you a sense of peace and comfort. You will feel inspired to clear more spaces.  When that happens, begin again at number 1.

I know it seems simple.  And, it is.  Really.  Looking at cleaning out the entire house in one fell swoop is overwhelming. Doing a couple of small areas is simple.  So that’s how you attack this.  And keep doing it until you have done all areas.

Once that is done, you will likely have a sizable pile of items you didn’t think you could part with sitting in the back of that closet.  Let me ask you this.  It’s been a few days or a few weeks. You haven’t touched those things. You’ve been enjoying your clear, open spaces.  Do you really miss them as much as you thought you would?  Go through that pile again.  Get rid of more.  You’ll be able to now.   Put the items you really, really can’t part with back in the closet, but this time in boxes.  Tape the boxes closed.  Put the date on them.  Don’t write anything else.

In one year if you have not opened the boxes and you can’t remember what’s in those boxes, you haven’t missed that stuff.  So vow that you will get rid of it.

Warning! Do not open the box.

Yes. I know. There will be things in there that have sentimental value. Maybe someone gave it to you as a wedding gift.  Perhaps, something is in there that was your great-grandma’s. I know.  But is it helping you? Or is it causing you stress?  Would the person who gave it to you want to cause you stress?  No. So either give it to someone else in the family, or take a photo of it.  Keep the photo in a “memories” folder on your computer.  Then get rid of it.

You hesitated. You froze. The idea still paralyzes you. Well let me ask this.  Do you have any idea how many mementos you would collect in a lifetime?  You can’t possibly keep them all forever.  Keep only what adds to your life experience.  You have to realize that this household clutter is only one aspect of life clutter we are going to talk about in this blog. This need to hang on to memories is another. You will have to realize that the memory is not attached to that item.  It’s in your head. Try the photo thing.  Tryyyyy it.

I bet you can do it.  I did.  And now not only do I have a peaceful, clutter-free house, I also have a lot more room in that closet.  You will too.

That’s your mission for today.  Let me know how you feel after you get that first area cleaned.  I can’t wait to hear from you!  Also, don’t forget to go here and click “like”.   You don’t want to miss a thing.  That’s where all the fun stuff is.  🙂

 

 

 

 

June 24

How Cleaning House and Your Weight are Related

Your relationship with your husband,  your finances, being a stay-at-home mum or wife (when possible), and your housekeeping abilities all play a part in maintaining a traditional 1950s-style housewife role. We left off a few days ago discussing cleaning house and I promised some helpful checklists.  Before I can get to those, however, there is one more thing we need to talk about.   Self-mastery.  It’s key to all the above but particularly important when we start to discuss routines.  It’s also important to understand how cleaning house and your weight are related.

Self-mastery is a broad subject, and when it comes to the state of your marriage, it’s one of the most important because your husband wants a wife that he can adore and place up on a pedestal. He wants a wife who he considers to be a better person than he is. He wants to know that you are kind, loyal, patient, forgiving, honest, and loving.   He wants to know that if he tries to shake you off of that pedestal by tempting you to do something wrong,  you won’t fall.  You will not lie, cheat, steal. You will not gossip or bad-mouth. You will not share a secret. You will remain unshaken.  You are a woman of good and strong character.

Self-mastery is control over your thoughts, emotions, fears, actions, reactions, impulses, desires, and decisions.  It’s having a strong enough will to carry through on doing what you know is right.  It’s sticking to a healthy-eating or exercise program.  It’s controlling your speech and not using foul language.   It’s keeping confidences entrusted to you.  It’s taking care of others and fulfilling all of your responsibilities.  It’s refusing to take part in gossip.  It’s being the type of person that you want others to be, or at least striving to achieve that ideal.

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Easy? No.  Anyone whose ever tried to stick to a restrictive diet can tell you that it’s not easy.  Temptation is everywhere.   But it is possible to improve on our current level of mastery, and that should be your constant goal throughout life.

We will discuss all the factors (and virtues) that contribute to being a woman your husband can adore throughout the coming weeks, but I put this blog post here because working on your self-mastery should come first as it directly affects all the other factors.   A good place to begin working on mastering yourself and your thoughts is with follow through.  And a perfect place to attack following through is with house keeping.

In comparison to some of the other virtues, keeping house requires far less personal sacrifice.  It’s easier to take on.  It’s measurable, and your success will bring you a level of pride and joy that will encourage you to take on the next area of self-mastery (whichever you should choose to work on next.)

So just like I did in my earlier post, I’m going to ask you to think differently.   Change your mindset.   Go into your new house-keeping routine thinking of it as a self-improvement mechanism and not just cleaning house.   Think of it as the launching pad to becoming a virtuous woman.  Think of it as a doable challenge that is paving the way for greater victories, and then prepare yourself for amazing things to come.

Tomorrow we begin.  We’ll discuss basic cleaning, cleaning supplies (which are best anyway?), saving money, short cuts, tips, tricks, and most importantly routines.  Leave a comment if you’re ready for the challenge!